[gasp, gahsp]
a sudden, short intake of breath, as in shock or surprise.
a convulsive effort to breathe.
a short, convulsive utterance: the words came out in gasps.
verb (used without object)
to catch one's breath.
to struggle for breath with the mouth open; breathe convulsively.
to long with breathless eagerness; desire; crave (usually followed by for or after ).
verb (used with object)
to utter with gasps (often followed by out, forth, away, etc.): She gasped out the words.
to breathe or emit with gasps (often followed by away ).
last gasp, the point of death; dying: At his last gasp he confessed to the murder.

1350–1400; Middle English gaspen, probably Old English *gāspen, equivalent to Old Norse geispa; akin to gape

gaspingly, adverb

4, 5. puff, blow. See pant1. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
gasp (ɡɑːsp)
vb (often foll by out)
1.  (intr) to draw in the breath sharply, convulsively, or with effort, esp in expressing awe, horror, etc
2.  (intr; foll by after or for) to crave
3.  to utter or emit breathlessly
4.  a short convulsive intake of breath
5.  a short convulsive burst of speech
6.  at the last gasp
 a.  at the point of death
 b.  at the last moment
[C14: from Old Norse geispa to yawn; related to Swedish dialect gispa, Danish gispe]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

late 14c., gaspen, of uncertain origin, perhaps from O.N. geispa "to yawn," or its Dan. derivative gispe "gasp." Related: Gasped; gasping.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010
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American Heritage
Abbreviations & Acronyms
Group Against Smoking in Public
The American Heritage® Abbreviations Dictionary, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases


see last gasp.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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Example sentences
He was again gasp- ing for breath when he finished, but he felt much lighter, and it was less of an effort to stay afloat.
The picture he has on his website made me gasp and is fodder for students' and
  colleagues' laughter.
The company remained hopeful that a buyer would emerge at the last gasp.
Had to take a deep gasp before she told her husband.
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